Aggie Rally Falls Just Short At No. 21 LSU

Ellen MiksThe Aggie volleyball team lost a heartbreaker to No. 21 LSU in Baton Rouge, LA on Saturday night as the Aggies rallied from down two sets to none to force five sets against the Tigers. The Aggies were manhandled in the first set 25-19 but improved their play in set two falling 25-23. The Aggies then dominated set three before hanging on for a 25-22 victory and then continued their domination in set four winning 25-15. The Aggies fell behind 5-1 in the fifth set but rallied and forced extra points before falling 17-15.

Kayleigh Giddens tied for match-high honors with 22 kills. Ellen Miks recorded a match-high 31 digs.

The first set was dominated by LSU as they jumped out to an early 10-4 lead. The Aggies would trim the lead down to four points at 12-8 on a setter dump by Jennah DeVries but the Tigers would respond with a 5-1 run to push their lead to 17-9. The Aggies would cut the lead down to five points at 20-15 after LSU's Brittney Johnson committed an attack error but LSU would score the next three points to push their lead back out to eight at 23-15. They would finish off the set winning 25-19 on a kill by Desiree Elliot.

The Aggies fell behind early again in the second set as LSU jumped out to a 6-1 lead. The Tigers would hold a six point lead at 11-5. The Aggies would still trail by five points at 14-9 but bck-to-back kills by Kayleigh Giddens and Whitney Woods would draw the Aggies to within three points at 14-11. The Tigers would push the lead back out to four points as they led 19-15, however, a kill by Kelsey Brennan was followed by an attack error by LSU's Desiree Elliot and the Aggies would draw to within two points at 19-17. Kayleigh Giddens would get another kill and the Aggies trailed by just one point at 19-18 forcing LSU to call a timeout.

The Aggies would tie the set at 19 after Desiree Elliot would commit another attack error. The Tigers regained the lead at 20-19 but the Aggies would tie the set at 20 behind a kill by Kayleigh Giddens. Back-to-back kills by Angela Bensend gave LSU the 22-20 lead forcing the Aggies to take a timeout. After the timeout the Aggies would tie the set at 22 apiece. LSU would retake a two point lead as Angela Bensend would put down a kill which was followed by an attack error by Whitney Woods to give the Tigers match point. The Aggies would stave off match point on a Rocio Gutierrez kill but the Tigers would take the set on the next set as Angela Bensend would record another kill.

The Aggies came back from intermission recharged from their near comeback in the second set as they would jump out to a quick 9-4 lead. The Aggies would push their lead to six points at 12-6 but the Tigers answered with a 3-1 run to cut the Aggies' lead down to four at 13-9. After trading points the Aggies would score three points in a row to go up by seven at 17-10. The Tigers would trim the Aggies' lead to five at 18-13 but a kill by Amanda Tonga was followed by an attack error by Madie Jones to put the Aggies up 20-13 and forced the Tigers to call a timeout.

The Aggies maintained their seven point advantage at 23-16 and had set point at 24-18 after a service error by LSU's Lauren Waclawcyzk. LSU would hold off the Aggies for four points to draw to within two at 24-22 but a kill from Desiree Scott ended any hopes for a comeback giving the Aggies the 25-22 set victory.

The Aggies would again dominate in the fourth set as they jumped out to an 8-4 lead prompting a timeout by the Tigers. The Aggies would push their lead to seven at 14-7 on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens. The Aggies would maintain the seven point advantage as they would go up 18-11 on an attack error by Angela Bensend. The Aggies would extend the lead to nine points at 21-12 and held a 23-13 lead after a double-block by Kelsey Brennan and Jennah DeVries. The Tigers would score two points in a row to cut the Aggies lead to 23-15 but a kill by Kayleigh Giddens would give the Aggies set point at 24-15 and an attack error by Desiree Elliot would be wide giving the Aggies a 25-15 set victory to force the fifth and deciding set.

In the race to 15 in the final set, the Aggies fell behind 5-1 behind three kills by LSU's Madie Jones. The Aggies would call a timeout to regroup and out of the timeout they would score back-to-back points putting up a block by Amanda Tonga and Whitney Woods on a Mjadie Jones attack and getting a kill from Rocio Gutierrez. The Aggies would cut the Tigers' lead to one at 6-5 but an attack error by Lauren Waclawcyzk tied the set at six points apiece. The Aggies took their first lead of the set on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens forcing a timeout by the Tigers. Angela Bensend would knock down a kill tying the set at seven. The match set would see ties at eight, nine and 10 points before LSU would record back-to-back points to take a 12-10 lead. After an Aggie timeout, the Tigers would go ahead 13-10 on a service ace by Victoria Jacobsen. The Aggies' Kayleigh Giddens would pull the Aggies back to within two at 13-11 and an attack error by LSU's Brittney Johnson would bring the Aggies to within one at 13-12. A kill by Madie Jones gave the Tigers match point at 14-12 but kills by Rocio Gutierrez and Kayleigh Giddens would tie the set at 14. The set would remain tied at 15 but a double contact was called on Kayleigh Giddens giving the Tigers another match point. This time there would be no rally for the Aggies as Angela Bensend would end the match with her 22nd kill.

Kayleigh Giddens and LSU's Angela Bensend tied for match-high kills with 22 each. Kelsey Brennan and Desiree Scott each had eight kills for the Aggies while Whitney Woods, Amanda Tonga and Rocio Gutierrez each had seven kills.

Madie Jones finished with 20 kills for LSU and Michele Williams pitched in 16 kills.

The Tigers had five players finish with double-digit kills as Lauren Waclawczyk led the Tigers with 20, Angela Bensend had 17, Sam Delahoussaye and Meghan Mannari each had 14 and Brittney Johnson had 10.

Ellen Miks led all defenders with 31 digs while Kayleigh Giddens recorded 17 digs to post another double-double. Kelsey Brennan finished with six digs and Madison Hardy and Whitney Woods each had six. Jennah DeVries and Rocio Gutierrez each finished with five digs while Amanda Tonga had four and Desiree Scott had two.

The Aggies finished the match hitting .233 while LSU hit .228. The Aggies had six service aces to LSU's five and committed just 21 attack errors while LSU committed 27 in the match.

The Aggies finish the Tiger Classic with a 1-2 record and are now 6-3 overall. LSU wins the Tiger Classic with a 3-0 record and improves to 9-0 on the season.

The Aggies are back in action on Tuesday, September 14th when they travel to Albuquerque to face in-state rival UNM.